Can’t Buy Me Love

ONE FLESH

When I was a college freshman, my roommate had a ‘cuddle buddy’. In fact, his cuddle buddy was an upperclass(wo)man that was in charge of leading us through school orientation. As you can tell, she took the job seriously and went far beyond her call of duty.

Many times I would walk in from class and the two of them would be in his top bunk just… cuddling. As far as I know, there was never anything sexual going on. Only spooning. I didn’t really know what to make of it, so I didn’t say much. The thing I had the hardest time understanding was the fact that each of them had significant others back home. They claimed that their boyfriend and girlfriend were OK with the arrangement and they explained to me that they were simply fulfilling a need to be held while they were apart from their true loves.

I was reminded of this because I saw an article about an Oregon woman that runs a business as a ‘Professional Cuddler’. (My computer is alerting me that ‘cuddler’ is not a real word. That should tell you something right there.)

She charges people a dollar a minute to cuddle with them. KBOI-TV News, an Idaho news channel, did an interview with the girl and the video is awkward as heck.

I can’t wrap my head around the concept. Based on this girl’s quotes, what she is ACTUALLY selling is not a body to cuddle with, but “unconditional love”. That’s where this whole thing breaks down for me. The thing that makes cuddling with this girl different from simply holding tightly to a pillow becomes all about the person’s longing for acceptance and love. I’m sorry to give away the ending, but a 60-minute cuddle session will never fill that void.

I mean, if you think about it, the business is an oxymoron. Her ‘love’ is literally based on the condition of a monetary payment. Does she really love her clients if she gets up and leaves until they are ready to pay again?

And doesn’t this speak to a larger issue about our society’s view on physical affection? We talk about wanting to cuddle or kiss or have sex the same way we talk about wanting to eat an ice cream sundae or smoke a cigarette. We have a craving and we just need a way scratch the itch.

But just like some people’s eating and smoking habits actually come from psychological needs that food and cigarettes can’t fill, physical love is also about a need that physical touch alone can’t satisfy.

Something tells me that it wouldn’t go well if next time my wife went out of town for a few days I said ‘Take all the time you need, babe! If I find myself missing you at night I can just call Suzie, my Professional Cuddler friend. Maybe I can convince her to make out with me if I pay extra!’

If cuddling really is just a platonic act, why should it be inappropriate for me just because I’m married?

What do you all think? Am I on to something here or do I need to climb off my puritanical high-horse and join the real world?

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5 Responses to Can’t Buy Me Love

  1. acetheist says:

    To answer your question: it wouldn’t necessarily be inappropriate because you’re married. That just depends on what you and your wife agree on. There are some couples who would be fine with it, and there are some who would rule that off-limits, and that’s okay. It just depends on what folks prefer. You seem to take issue with people not in romantic relationships cuddling each other, and I’m not really sure why.

    • ithenlive says:

      Thanks for your comment, I appreciate your point. Of course I’ve heard of couples having different arrangements than the one I have with my wife and it’s their right to choose that. But the point I was trying to make in my post was less about the appropriateness of things and more about what truly fulfills a person. I don’t believe all relationship arrangements are equally fulfilling. In your opinion, why do people not in romantic relationships cuddle with each other?

      • acetheist says:

        Because they like to. :3 For example, I’m a person who likes cuddles. I cuddle with my friends, I cuddle with my mom, and I’ll hug people I’ve just met under the right circumstances. Cuddling and physical contact can sometimes be used as expressions of a particular bond, and I’ve nothing against people who would only want to use it that way, but it’s also something that I just like to do for its own sake. I would be interested in going to a cuddle party or paying for a cuddling session. It’s just a pleasant thing for me.

      • ithenlive says:

        That’s well-said, but I guess I just can’t get on board. I can’t figure out how an action can maintain its power as an expression of a bond if I claim that I can come to a different context and use it in a way completely devoid of a bond.

  2. Pingback: Sha-la-la-la-la-la My Oh My | How Should I Then Live

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